Plants are infinitely inspirational, just one plant through its whole life cycle can provide you with a million different ideas… It’s mind blowing.
Clarissa Hulse is one of Britain’s leading textile designers – her graphic and colourful prints are instantly recogniseable. Influenced by a childhood spent living in several different countries and a Greek mother who had a passion for flowers, Clarissa’s vivid designs are inspired by nature and the plants we see around us. “Plants are infinitely inspirational,” she says. “Just one plant through its whole life cycle can provide you with a million different ideas… It’s mind blowing.”
Clarissa studied textiles at the University of Brighton where she experimented with her love of bold colour. “My degree show was all about colour and was very abstract,” she explains, “But then I got some post cards of incredible black and white photographs of plants and I knew that this was it – that was what I wanted to use in my designs.” Clarissa created a number of patterns inspired by the photographs, which instantly sold out, and the rest is history.
Botanical photography is still an integral part of Clarissa’s design process today. “I find the plants, photograph them and often I collect them and press them too,” she says. “My design is really the silhouette of the plant so I don’t tend to use flowers for the pattern, I use grasses and seed pods and then I use the flowers for colour inspiration. I find the best designs are the ones I fiddle around with the least and then I make silk screens.”
The studio is the ideal space for screen printing with its huge open plan workshop and series of smaller rooms behind, where the screens are made, washed and stored for future use. “It’s very old fashioned,” Clarissa says. “We print lots of fabrics and try out lots of colours – I’m not a computer person at all. When I find a winning combination I pursue it and I often have a palette that I’m using as a spring board. My designs are very timeless.”